July 2, 2021

Swiss Cottage: the best free & cheap things to do in this underrated area, from Freudian Slippers to iconic zebra crossings

Swiss Cottage might not be the sexist area of London - but there's still a lot going on. Here, journalist, comedy writer/performer and Swiss Cottage local Suchandrika Chakrabarti shares her tips for maximising NW3.

1. Abbey Road Studios and the iconic crossing outside

Abbey Road Studios was made famous by The Beatles, thanks to their album of the same name, and its iconic cover art with them walking over the crossing outside. Recreate their pose on the real thing for free - stop the traffic and get someone to snap a picture of you, fast! There's also a graffiti wall for you to leave a message, and a souvenir shop.

2. Primrose Hill and Regent's Park

We're so lucky to have some of London's best parks within walking distance. Primrose Hill is prime dog-spotting territory (see the Pups of Primrose Hill instagram for evidence). The top of the hill offers an amazing view of the London skyline and a spectacular sunrise, whereas the sun will set behind you, in the trees.

For a properly long walk, continue from the southern edge of Primrose Hill into Regent's Park, then choose your own adventure: follow the canal towpath, head to London Zoo or take one of the walkways through the park and head towards Euston Road. Look out for the friendly squirrels.

3. Swiss Cottage Farmers' Market

Of course Swiss Cottage has a farmer's market (where doesn't these days?). This market has been running since 1981 and is now on from 10am to 3pm every Wednesday, so it makes for a fun midweek lunchtime treat. You can try samples of cheese, charcuterie, bread and fruit. On other days of the week, there are stalls offering street food. Much easier to dip in and out of than the far-too-famous Borough Market!

4. Ye Olde Swiss Cottage

Ever wonder how this area got to be named Swiss Cottage? It's all thanks to Ye Olde Swiss Cottage. The chalet-style building, with balconies, wooden pillars and hanging baskets sits in between the busy Finchley and Avenue Roads. It's now a Sam Smiths pub - so food and drink prices are reasonable - and there's a large outdoor area to sit in the sunshine.

A Swiss chalet was built on the site in 1840. The Swiss Tavern, as it was known then, served the area to the north-east of Primrose Hill, which was all fields then. The current area was built up around the alpine-style cottage, becoming a focal point in the area, and giving the local tube station its name, upon opening in 1868.

5. Freud Museum (£14 / £12 concs)

The last home of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) has been turned into a museum. Inside, enjoy touring the building and spotting such iconic symbols of Freud's practice, such as his psychoanalytic couch. There's a current exhibition showing how Freud dealt with the Spanish Flu pandemic over 100 years ago. In the souvenir shop, find gifts with a sense of humour, such as the Unresolved Issues Canvas Pouch, Depressed Pencils or Freudian Slippers.

You can find out more about Suchandrika's work on Twitter, where she can be found tweeting @SuchandrikaC. She is also the host of Freelance Pod, the podcast which is all about how the internet has changed the world of work

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